Wednesday, May 30, 2007

6 Insurgents Yield In Southern Philippines

Col. Alexander Dicang, deputy commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, assisted by Lt. Col. Emmanuel Sison, commander of the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion, receive assorted weapons from six New People’s Army rebels on Monday, 28 May 2007. (Photos by Allan June Molde)

PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 30 May) – Six communist insurgents have surrendered to the Philippine military after a series of negotiations that took security officials three months to finish, the local Philippine Information Agency said on Wednesday.

The six men – all Subanen tribesmen – also surrendered their weapons to the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion in the village of Diplo in Zamboanga del Sur’s Kumalarang town early this week.

“After one year and eight months in the underground movement, the six Subanen folks who joined the CCP-NPA finally decided to return to the mainstream of society and start a new life with their families,” said Army Lt. Col. Emmanuel Sison.

Sison presented the insurgents, members of the New People’s Army, to Col. Alexander Dicang, deputy commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, based in Ipil town in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The surrender of the six coincided with the Army’s medical mission in Diplo and was witnessed by hundreds of villagers led by the town’s Mayor Allan Damas.

Those who surrendered were identified as Salibutan Balibes Jr, Julindo Hapitan Gias, Lumambo Lagungan Damo, Junjie Gon Supring, Jen Ligisan Giginan and Arnel Papahan.

The six claimed to have operated under the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) Front Committee Kara under Commander Palis in Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.

One of the rebels, who acted as leader of the group, said he was a former gold miner in Bayog town in Zamboanga del Sur and was recruited by the NPA in exchange for a monthly pay of five thousand pesos. He was then earning only three thousand pesos, not enough to sustain his family.

“But like the rest, I was deceived and did not receive any money from the NPA and I made a mistake and wanted to correct it and so we all decided to return to the folds of the law. There are still more who wanted to yield, but are afraid that the rebels will kill them or harm their families. We need to help them,” he said.

He said his group wanted to defect from the underground long before but it was not easy to escape from the organization.
“As we became enemy of the government, we have to be in a constant move to evade getting caught, but we also can no longer withstand living a life with a bleak future in the mountains – away from their loved ones,” he said. (With a report from Allan June Molde)

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